Georgia's Texting Laws

The Latest Information on Texting While Driving

READ THE NEW GEORGIA LAW PROHIBITING ALL TEXTING WHILE DRIVING STARTING JULY 1, 2010 HERE.  
 
READ THE NEW GEORGIA LAW PROHIBITING ALL CELL PHONE USE FOR TEEN DRIVERS ON JULY 1, 2010 HERE.

From cell phones and iPods to fast-food snacks and driver drowsiness, there are more than enough distractions to keep Georgia motorists from focusing on our four-lanes. And now new national data is showing driver inattention is a key cause in most crashes and near-crashes.  

According to a 2006 study of real-world driver behavior, distraction, and crash factors about 80-percent of crashes were caused by some form of distraction-- such as cell phone use or being tired—occurring within three seconds of the incident. The study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found drivers who frequently engage in the most distracting activities are more likely to be involved in an inattention-related crash or near-crash. 

The VTTI and NHTSA study followed 241 drivers of 100 vehicles for one year, finding that over the course of two-million miles and 42-thousand-plus hours of activity, the test subject drivers were involved in 82 crashes, 761 near-crashes and 8,296 critical incidents.

It doesn’t take a highway safety scientist to predict that cell phone use is the most common driving distraction of emerging 21st century technology. But many responsible drivers are surprised to learn that cell phone dialing, talking and listening all cause nearly equal numbers of crashes. Why? Because even though dialing is definitely more dangerous when removing a driver’s eyes from the road, it occurs less often than talking or listening.

A 2008 AutoVantage motor club survey ranked Atlanta as the sixth-least courteous city in the U.S. after 35-percent of the Metro-Area drivers in the survey admitted they talk everyday on the cell phone while driving. Texting while driving remains under study.  But Georgia drivers are already ranked among the early indicators.  According to an online survey released in May 2008, Georgia has the third-highest rate in the nation for drivers who text on cell phones while behind the wheel. Thirty-seven percent of the drivers in the Georgia survey admitted they actually text while driving.  Anecdotal evidence points to younger, less experienced drivers engaged in this hazardous distracted driving habit.

If you take your eyes off the road when you text, you’re not doing your primary job. Your primary job behind the wheel is paying attention to the highway. Highway safety advocates across the country are waiting on conclusive data that indicates if texting on cell phones is more dangerous than talking on them. Until then, there is clear data that teen drivers are the most easily distracted drivers and parents should discourage these inexperienced motorists from using cell phones while driving, regardless if they’re in talk mode or text.

A National Safety Council (NSC) survey also found that 10 percent of daytime motorists use some type of hand-held or hands free phone. The NSC compares the distraction caused by cell phone use to the slower reaction time of an impaired driver. A similar study anecdotally compares driver reaction time while using cell phones to that of elderly vehicle operators.  Some current studies also discount the benefit of hands-free devices.  Using a hands-free device will help keep both hands on the wheel, but these studies have shown they won’t reduce the level of distraction, indicating it’s the conversation that distracts the driver, not the electronic design features.

Unfortunately, the distractions don’t end when Georgia motorists finally hang up the phone and drive. Several other activities have been found to be just as distracting or even more capable of increasing crash occurrences and here’s how they rank: reaching for a moving object, increases crash risk by 9 times; looking at an object outside the vehicle increases crash risk by 3.7 times; reading increases crash risk by 3 times; grooming or applying makeup increases crash risk by 3 times; using a hand-held device like a GPS increases crash risk by 3 times; talking or listening to a hand-held cell phone increases crash risk by 1.3 times; and drowsiness, a tired driver behind the wheel, increases crash risk by 4 times.

 


Click HERE to view the HIGHWAY TO JUSTICE NEWSLETTER ON DISTRACTED DRIVING FROM THE ABA AND NHTSA.
 

           

Get the Facts on Distracted Driving

The Georgia Distracted Driving Clearinghouse aims to be your information leader for distracted driving/text safety in the state. Check back often for new links and news as it becomes available.
 

Distracted Driving Links


NO PHONE ZONE

If you think you have the cell phone, texting and driving thing down...you do not. Sign our pledge to make your car a No Phone Zone and pass it on. You could save a life—maybe even yours.
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FCC DISTRACTED DRIVING WEB

Distracted Driving – The Dangers of Texting While Driving

NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL

NSC estimates that 28% of crashes -- 1.6 million crashes per year -- can be attributed to cell phone talking and texting while driving
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NETS ON DISTRACTED DRIVING

NETS is dedicated to improving the health and safety of employees, their families and the community by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job.
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EXIT 2 TEXT IT

Exit 2 Text It is an effort by the Safe America Foundation, 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., the Georgia Parent Teacher Association and Channel 2 WSB-TV to build public awareness  around the dangers of texting while driving and to encourage drivers of all ages to exit the roadway before reading and responding to text/email messages.
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Additional Links

NHTSA
Distraction.gov
GHSA
AAA